Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Southwest Garden

What grows well in a Southwest garden? 
  • Weeds
  • Cacti
  • Roses
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Sedum
Those are the things that grow best in my Southwest gardens. Weeds are literally a pain. You'd think with tennis shoes and socks, your feet would be protected from the prickly things. I can't walk in the yard without getting stuck by them. The smart thing to do in the desert is utilize rock for landscaping with the plastic underneath so the weeds won't grow. As my husband and I continue the plans for our cottage cabin remodeling, one priority is to landscape with plenty of rocks because we have an abundance of weeds.
It amazes me, however, how roses thrive in our desert along with lavender and rosemary. Not only are they beautiful but also give a sweet garden aroma. Sedum is another favorite of mine, a small pink and green desert thriving plant that makes a good garden filler. Combine these flowers and plants, add some red mulch, and you've created a colorful Southwest garden.
One of my favorite photos I took recently. I call it my yellow and pink toes cactus. Notice those impossible weeds nearby.




Pink Rose
My little rosemary and lavender plants in the beginning of my rock garden.
I'm sharing my Southwest Garden post with:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Celebrating Friendship with Yellow Flowers

A yellow rose represents friendship. Yesterday, when I watered my garden, I was reminded of one of my very best friends in life - my mother. Mother loved roses, and one could always find roses in her gardens. Last year I planted a yellow rose bush in my garden in memory of her, and a yellow rosebud I saw made me think of a dozen yellow roses I once received from my mother and father years ago. My husband and daughter and I were traveling around the country in ministry and had just parked our fifth wheel at a church in Rochester, Minnesota where we would be staying for a week. By the second day I had become extremely ill and was taken to Mayo Clinic. I ended up needing major surgery. That was one of the strangest weeks I've experienced in my life. We didn't know the pastor and family or anyone in the church there. The pastor came to visit one day to bring flowers from the church which I was very appreciative of. Other than that, my husband and daughter would come up to the room every day and hang out with me as long as they could stand staying in the hospital room. I felt like I was in a foreign land. To my surprise one day while in the hospital, a dozen yellow roses were delivered to my room. They were a special delivery from my parents. I shall always keep that sweet memory. Friendship. I was blessed with parents who loved me and have also been my friends for life.
Yellow Rosebud - Sweet Friendship Memories

Doesn't my desert cactus look like a big foot with yellow and pink toes?
Pastel yellow is a favorite of my daughter who is getting married July 30th. I'm celebrating with yellow today with sweet memories of friendship with my parents, friendship with my daughter, and blogging friendship with a special lady.
It is common in the 21st century to meet new friends through blogging. I'm happy to introduce you to my new blogging friend, Debra.  She is the winner of the wedding ring quilt at Southwest Cottage Designs.

I asked Debra if I could feature her on my blog, and she has kindly agreed. Through interviewing her and reading her blogs, I've learned that she loves purr babies, knows a lot about quilting, and is a lot like me in that she works a day job with hectic hours and only has time to blog on the weekends. Take a few moments to visit her blogs.

Meet Debra:

Angi:  Do you blog as a hobby? 
Debra:  I started blogging when I started quilting so I could share with my sister my progress or lack of it. She is an amazing quilter and suggested I give it a try.  I am much better at fabric shopping than actually using it!
    Angi:  Do you blog purposely to connect with other quilters?
    Debra: I started noticing the wonderful things people were making and I wanted to learn it all. There are so many amazing talented people in blogland willing to share all of their knowledge. Maybe someday a retreat is in my future where I can actually meet some of these people.

    Angi:  What other hobbies do you have besides quilting?
    Debra:  I am an expert crocheter and would love to learn to knit someday. I have pretty much dabbled in everything there is crafty.

    Angi:  What is "Let's Bee Together" all about?
    Debra:  This is the first online virtual be I joined to expand my skills as a new quilter. Sometimes I'm still afraid to cut into others peoples fabric though, and scour Ebay to see if I can get a replacement if I mess up.

    Angi:  Do you have a tutorial on how to make a quilt project that you could share?
    Debra:  No tutorials from me but there are a ton out there I could recommend.

    Angi:  What do you like about blogging?
    Debra:  I read a ton of blogs which means mine actually is sadly neglected. I hope to remedy that in the future.

    Angi:  Are there any other blogging subjects you would like to include?
    Debra:  Not specifically but if you can think of it there's a blog out there for it!

    Thank you for visiting Southwest Cottage Designs today. Your visit to my blog and your sweet comments always make me smile! 
    I'm sharing this post with:
    • Flora Thursdays

      Friday, June 17, 2011

      Lean Times

      The bride plans her wedding and chooses household items to set up an inviting home and kitchen for her new life with her husband. Somewhere along the way, she, like many these days, may experience lean times and have to become creative in meal planning. One can cook and eat frugally yet healthy with a bit of creativity. Listed below is a photo of a light and inexpensive meal with pink salmon. You can also fry pink salmon patties and make into a sandwich or serve with your favorite veggies. 

      And how about these pink strawberries for a light and tasty snack when you're craving sweets?

      Here's a pink creative way to serve popcorn:
      Source: via Meghan on Pinterest

      I've included this post in my wedding blog series after an interesting discussion today with my daughter, Chrissie, who is getting married in July. She reminded me of a lean time our own family experienced several years ago. We were full-time RV'ers for about nine years. This particular time was when we traveled from Bakersfield, CA to Omaha, NE, and we had a gap in our schedule. When you are a full-time traveling minister's family with a gap in the schedule, that means a period of time with no income. Add fuel and food expense to that. What do you get? S-T-R-E-S-S! The trip was one we would never forget. It was my first time to drive our diesel pickup while pulling our fifth wheel. When I drove, we were passing through Colorado. It was cold and raining. The curvy road was unfamiliar to me, and I was so relieved when it was my husband's turn to drive again. We didn't have time to stop and spend the night because we left Bakersfield on Thursday before Good Friday and had to be in Omaha by Easter Sunday morning. When we had almost reached Vail, Colorado, the summit was closed to trucks and trailers for several hours. Finally, when we could drive up the summit, we reached the top as a lady driving an SUV got our attention to inform us that we had a tire about to go flat. Nearly all the money we had left was spent on tire repair. We had enough to barely make it to Omaha if we didn't stop to eat anywhere. But we did have bread and cans of pork and beans. For the rest of that trip we ate pork and bean sandwiches. To my surprise today, Chrissie said, "I was so excited because I loved barbecue pork and bean sandwiches." Who would have ever thought pork and bean sandwiches could make a little girl happy? Today we laughed and laughed about that time.
      Another fun creative thing to do is make picnic lunches or make lunches for work and take them in a pretty lunch bag. I have two lunch bags that I love which both have pink. Make your sack lunches fun, and your husband and children will love you for it.
      Here are a couple of my favorite lunch bags with pink :

      Chrissie also reminded me of a story we've told her about from the early part of our marriage when we used to eat at a place called Grandy's. We loved Grandy's, a country-style restaurant with the best rolls, butter, and honey, huge cinnamon rolls, fried chicken and southern sweet ice tea. We were so broke during that time that we would share one piece of chicken, a roll, and one ice tea. Other times we would share the cinnamon roll and ice tea. I think it was sometime about then that I found out my husband knew how to cook. Our cupboards and fridge were bare, and we bought ham lunch meat, cheese, and flour tortillas. He cut the lunch meat and cheese in small pieces, cooked them in a frying pan, and prepared ham and cheese burritos. We were living in East Texas and assisting at a small church. We hadn't told a soul about our lack of groceries, and one day we heard a knock on the front door. A lady from the church had come with four paper sacks full of groceries. Give, and it shall be given unto you. This evening while reminiscing lean and frugal times in my life, I keep thinking of a Bible scripture that is also a song I often played on pianos and keyboards and sang in churches across America, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. But in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path."
      I am an author who loves to write and tell about comfort foods and entertaining in the home and other inspirational publications. I'd love to hear your favorite lean-time food memories, too. Indicate in the comment section whether or not you agree to allow me to quote your lean food story in future publications. I look forward to your stories.
      Remember to enter to win the wedding ring quilt I'm giving away. This Sunday, Father's Day, is the last day to enter to win the contest. Go here to enter.
      I'm sharing Lean Times with:

      Saturday, June 11, 2011

      Pink Ideas for Summer Weddings

      Looking for pink ideas for summer weddings?
      This is part of a wedding blog series I'm hosting this summer. My daughter, Chrissie, is getting married in July. She and I have fun discussing her ideas and plans for her outdoor wedding in a friend's back yard near the water. She and her fiance, family, and friends are combining their design abilities to create a beautiful wedding. For this part of the series, I'm focusing on pink ideas that can be added to an outdoor summer wedding.

      Even if pink is not a bride's main wedding color, it is common to find at least a touch of pink at most weddings. It may be a tiny bow on a garter or pink roses in a bouquet or pink flowers on a cake. Especially in an outside wedding, it's easy to find pink in garden or wildflowers nearby.

      Chrissie loves pastel colors. Though she has chosen the wedding colors, a touch of pink can always be added in unique ways and at last-minute decorating. So I've gone on a search for pink ideas to include in this wedding series.

      Pink Petals and Bows

      pink flowers on the wedding cake

      Seashell bouquet with pink

      pink and gray bouquet

      pink sandals

      pink bouquet

      pink flag wedding programs

      pastel peonies

      candy topiaries

      Thank you for touring Pink Ideas for Summer Weddings with me. Should you have other pastel color ideas, visit my quilt giveaway contest and enter your idea. Hurry because the last day of the contest is next Sunday! The grand prize is a wedding ring quilt. The bride and I will also be giving away a surprise gift to each individual who submitted a contest entry idea that she and the groom decides to use in their wedding.

      I'm sharing Pink Ideas for Summer Weddings with:

      Saturday, June 4, 2011

      Spring, Summer, and Wedding Flowers

      Flowers is a hot spring and summer topic on lists of gardeners, home decorators, florists, and brides. 
      Try your turn at the puzzle. I loved doing this. I took one of my rose photos and created this puzzle at a website that makes it easy to create. My best score was 1:31. I loved Beverly's butterfly puzzle over at How Sweet the Sound and just had to try one here at Southwest Cottage Designs. Thanks, Beverly, for that sweet idea.

      Do you choose flowers for your garden by color, type of flower, zone, price, comfort or all of these? When I go to a garden center, I stroll through the aisles noticing first the colors, then the types of flowers I want for my gardens. Typically, a garden center will carry mostly the types of flowers that grow in its zone so I don't worry much about the zone when shopping for flowers to plant. But I do enjoy looking for certain types of flowers because I have favorites. The rose, for instance, is probably my most favorite of flowers. I think I'm drawn more to the rose because of the comfort I get out of it. In grade school I remember ordering a rose picture to give my mother for a gift. Where the money came from to buy the picture I don't recall. Probably, it came from my dad. Mother was delighted with the gift, so much that she framed it in an antique and gold black frame. She hung the picture on a wall in her bedroom. After she passed away, my dad wanted everything to stay just the way she had it. The rose picture still hangs in Dad's bedroom, and I always like to view the picture when I visit. Before I'm overcome with tears, let's go to the next rose memory.
      Mother was an elegant home designer, an artist, an excellent seamstress, and her home displayed the beauty of her creations. Her gardens displayed her favorite flowers. I have a list of flowers she once wrote down before she went shopping at her favorite nursery. She liked roses, lilies, zinnias, verbenas and many others. One of the most beautiful areas of her garden was the huge group of miniature rose bushes with lots of white and pink.
      At some point I started drawing roses. I'd look at a rose picture and draw it on a separate paper. Sometimes I would trace it. Then I would color the picture. The rose fascinated me - the petals, leaves, seeds in the middle, colors, etc. I love to find unusual or interesting rose paintings and pictures when I go yard saling or antique shopping. I guess it all goes back to my childhood rose pastimes.
      My latest yard sale rose painting behind a picture of Chrissie and me
      Obviously, comfort comes in pretty strong on my list of flowers to choose. I grew up around roses in Mother's and both my grandmothers' gardens. I chose red roses for my wedding flowers. My husband and I were married in December after Christmas. The roses looked so beautiful. I would probably have had Christmas colors because I loved red, but I also loved blue - and so did my hubby. So blue and red it was.
      My latest garden red rose miniatures

      Another photo of my red rose miniatures - told you I like red!
      Wedding flowers can become quite expensive. Many brides choose to have their moms, family members, and friends help with creating flower arrangements and bouquets. When the eldest of our daughters got married, we had a friend who grew roses and was a member of the rose society of his county. We paid a very reasonable fee for many buckets of multi-colored roses for her wedding. The rose decorations were absolutely gorgeous!
      If you are keeping up with the current blog series at Southwest Cottage Designs, you know that my daughter, Chrissie, is getting married in July. She plans to use fresh flower bouquets, and though not necessarily or only roses, she does like a variety of colors and types of flowers. Follow this series and see pictures of Chrissie's wedding flower style after the wedding. Remember to enter your flower ideas in the quilt giveaway entries.

      Flowers is a hot topic on my garden and wedding list for this spring and summer. 

      I'm sharing this with:

      Wednesday, June 1, 2011

      Lace Trends

      Lace trends for wedding dresses and home decor are becoming more popular since Kate Middleton wore her French Chantilly and English Cluny lace wedding dress.  
      Notice Kate's long lace sleeves at, a website that connects buyers and sellers of new, sample and used wedding dresses. Here are a few of the lace wedding gowns they now are advertising:

      Size 4
      Size 4

      Size 6
      Size 8

      Size 10

      Size 14

      I remember my own white lace wedding dress from 32 years ago. When I shopped for a wedding dress, I thought I knew what I wanted until my mother and aunt took me wedding dress shopping one day. "Try this one on," they both suggested, pointing to a very lacy and ruffles dress. It wasn't the style I was searching for, but I tried it on anyway to please them. I fell in love with it. Covered with lace and layers of ruffles on the bottom and sides in the back, the wedding dress was made with a high neckline and long lace sleeves, quite the old-fashioned look. 

      My daughter, Chrissie, is getting married in July. She tried my old-fashioned lace wedding dress on before she chose her own design. The dress has been preserved in a large box for all these years and is in good condition. She asked my opinion about an idea she had for using my wedding dress. Of course, I was delighted. The vintage remake looks unique with its something-old-something-new design. Follow Southwest Cottage Designs June and July series of articles to see the lovely vintage wedding dress remake photos - after the wedding, of course. Remember to enter the wedding ring quilt giveaway!

      A 2011 trend is to decorate your home with what you wear. Ways to decorate with lace inside and outside the home:
      Lace Container

      Lace Pots/Bowls

      • Decorate accent tables with lace. Cut the size of lace to fit your table, and take the measurements to a glass company to have a glass cut for the table.
      • Decorate your walls with trendy lace...
      Lace Key Rack

      ...and in the bedroom...
      Gold Settee
      Lace Mirror

      ...for a patio...
      Lace Bench
      Even Lace in the Garden
        Now that's an idea for our gardens - lace shovels and wheelbarrow. Ideas for lace are endless. Visit antique stores, thrift shops, and yard sales for tables, containers, and vintage items you can turn into lace beauties.  Go have fun generating your own ideas with vintage wedding dresses and home decor finds.
        I'm sharing with: